Hopes for Discussion on Marian Aspect of the Church
APARECIDA, Brazil, MAY 16, 2007 (Zenit.org).-
Benedict XVI's inaugural address at the bishops' general conference in Aparecida opened the door for a discussion on the role of women in the Church and society, says an expert.Sandra Ferreira Ribero, who is attending the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean as an expert, pointed to the Pope's comments on chauvinism in Latin American societies.
The Pope said, "In some families in Latin America there still unfortunately persists a chauvinist mentality that ignores the 'newness' of Christianity, in which the equal dignity and responsibility of women relative to men is acknowledged and affirmed."Ferreira Ribero, a specialist in physics, theology and the sociology of religion, and the national coordinator of the Focolare movement in Brazil, said that she believes the Holy Father mentioned chauvinism and its relation to women as an invitation for further discussion at the conference.
"It is true that the Holy Father underlined this aspect in speaking about the family, but obviously, this goes beyond just the family," Ferreira Ribero said. "Pope John Paul II highlighted what he called the feminine genius. And because the Church is a vast reality, one can look at this from many different points of view."
The conference expert also highlight that the Marian element of the Church -- being equally important to the Petrine-Apostolic element -- "has not been, historically speaking, sufficiently discussed, and this is a challenge for us today.""Mary is the Queen of Apostles without claiming to have apostolic powers. One thinks immediately of female priesthood, but that is not it,"
Ferreira Ribero explained, adding that there is "a much greater mission open to women." "The role of a woman is, practically speaking, the role of Mary in the Church and in society," she said. "Mary is the lay woman par excellence, and therefore the disciple of Christ par excellence."